Though entertainment fads come and go, movie theaters remain, tempting audiences with fantastical stories new and old. The film buffs behind the Tampa Pitcher Show understand this craving for narrative connection, filling their movie hall and bar space?s calendar with first-run films, alternative events, and live music that helped them take home the prize for Best Kept Secret in Creative Loafing's Best of the Bay 2011 Reader?s Poll. Within the theater, projectors hum to life with current hits and cult classics every night; weekends welcome special happenings that include independent film and live stage shows, shadow-casts, art bazaars, and comedy shows. The Take 2 Lounge dispenses a sprawling menu of bar fare, including burgers, pizzas, and beers such as Magic Hat #9, Southern Tier, and Florida Avenue Ale flowing from 13 tap lines.
At Cinema 6, guests can have dinner and a movie at the same time. The staff selects second-run films to project on the vast 24-foot screen, while moviegoers select their meals from a menu of baked?not fried or blowtorched?food. As the movies play, they might nosh on a pepperoni pizza, boneless buffalo wings, or fries smothered in bacon and cheese. The cinema also hosts birthday parties that center around a film or a round of XBox on the big screen.
The Sarasota Film Society's two theaters—foreign-and-independent-film-spotlighting Burns Court Cinemas and mainstream-flick-running Lakewood Ranch Cinemas—function as a nonprofit organization dedicated to heightening film entertainment and education options in the area. A one-year single membership grants a free pass for one movie (an $8 value) and one popcorn (a $4 value), as well as $5 tickets and free popcorn refills (a $4 value each) at all regular screenings for the remainder of the year. Early access to tickets means members never have to feel the shame of being the last person they know to cry about a Pixar movie, and discounted tickets to all Film Society festivals and special events allows members to compare their Sergio Leone trivia thresholds. Alternatively, two movie tickets (a $16 value) and one large popcorn (a $4 value) valid at either theater rescue customers from another night of staying in to watch their DVR's directorial debut about the living room's seedy underbelly.
Classical, opera, and popular orchestral compositions make up the repertoire of the Southwest Florida Symphony, which has made quality programming its mission since 1961. Aiming to make music accessible to all, the symphony visits schools, offers scholarships, books youth-friendly concerts, and provides a friendly First-Timer’s Guide for new audience members unfamiliar with the proper way of applauding.
As a part of its continuing mission to promote the cultural and economic impacts of independent filmmaking, the not-for-profit St. Petersburg–Clearwater Film Society hosts the annual Sunscreen Film Festival. Each day of the four-day festival packs in more than 12 hours of short- and feature-film screenings, as well as workshops on the filmmaking process, such as "Tips for Creating a Talking Picture." Local documentarians and producers of comedic shorts, genre pieces, or feature-length films showcase their work for eager audiences and industry professionals. Myriad workshops cover aspects of screenwriting and acting as well as promotional arts such as how to land an agent or how to use social media as an advertising and networking tool. Many nights also feature concerts and after parties, allowing auteurs, musicians, and audience members to mingle.
Channelside Cinemas immerses movie lovers in a constantly changing selection of box-office smashes that play on classic projection screens, four Sony 4K digital 3-D screens, and a 70-foot digital high-definition 3-D screen. Concession stands dole out savory treats such as Westshore cheesesteaks and pizza, as well as free refills on popcorn and soda, which guests can enjoy inside theaters or while sitting in the plush couches that line the lobby. The sit-down Dolce Vita Dinner Lounge, outfitted with a full bar, couches, and booths, entrances eyes with feature films on 30-foot indoor and outdoor screens as waitresses serve up gourmet Italian feasts during dinner-and-a-movie screenings, private parties, and fundraisers. Channelside Cinemas offers $0.50 parking and takes reservations up to five months in advance for long-awaited blockbusters or unveilings of highly anticipated new Skittles flavors.